Benchmarks finished mixed on Wednesday after the Fed Minutes
failed to boost investor sentiment. Below-than-expected economic
data from Japan once again called into question Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe's policies. Meanwhile, China said trade data may be
disappointing. These comments come on the heels of
below-than-expected export and import figures for June. Of the
top ten S&P 500 industry groups, health care stocks gained
the most. Energy stocks were the biggest losers.
For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make
sure to read today's
Ahead of Wall Street
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) declined 0.1% to close
the day at 15,291.66. The S&P 500 increased marginally to
finish yesterday's trading session at 1,652.62. The tech-laden
Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.5% to end at 3,520.76. The
fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 1.0% to settle at
14.21. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange,
American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 5.7 billion
shares, lower than 2013's average of 6.4 billion shares.
Advancing stocks outnumbered the decliners. For the 52% that
advanced, only 45% declined.
Benchmarks rose for a brief period after the Fed Minutes were
released. However, gains were trimmed as soon as investors
realized the Fed Minutes was similar to statements issued by
Bernanke as well as many Fed officials last month. According to
the Fed Minutes, a majority of the twelve Fed officials supported
the need for further signs of improvement in the employment
scenario before bond purchases are tapered off. Benchmarks were
rattled post Bernanke's testimony in May. However, benchmarks
gained ground to a major extent following strong economic
numbers. The S&P 500 has gained 2% in the past five trading
sessions and is just shy of its all-time high.
Meanwhile, disappointing economic numbers may call into
question strategies deployed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to
fight deflation. "Abenomics" was created with the sole intention
of ending the deflation which Japan has been facing since past 15
years. Household sentiment which constitutes income, livelihood,
spending capacity and jobs, dropped 1.4 points to 44.3. The
barometer measuring income growth contracted 0.6 points to 41.6.
In its early days, "Abenomics" did lead to indications of an
economic revival. However, the economy hasn't witnessed any
growth in wages yet.
China has cautioned that trade figures may be disappointing.
The statement follows posted weak export and import figures for
the month of June. Exports for the month dropped 3.1% well below
the estimate of an increase of 4%. Export figures have dropped
for the first time in more than a year. Exports to the U.S
dropped 5.4% while those to the European Union contracted 8.3%.
Imports of the country declined 0.7% compared to the estimates of
an increase of 8%. Trade surplus, however, came in at $27.1
billion, marginally above the estimates of $27 billion.
Health care stocks gained the most among the top ten S&P
500 industry groups. The Health Care SPDR (XLV) gained 0.7%.
Stocks such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:
), Masimo Corporation (NASDAQ:
), Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:
), Stryker Corporation (NYSE:
) and Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE:
) gained 0.4%, 1.1%, 0.2%, 0.4% and 1.0%, respectively.
Energy stocks were the biggest losers. The Energy Select
Sector SPDR (XLE) lost 0.6%. Stocks such as Chevron Corporation
), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:
), Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:
), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:
) and Devon Energy Corp (NYSE:
) declined 0.3%, 0.6%, 2.6%, 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively.
CHEVRON CORP (CVX): Free Stock Analysis
DEVON ENERGY (DVN): Free Stock Analysis
JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis
MASIMO CORP (MASI): Free Stock Analysis
MEDTRONIC (MDT): Free Stock Analysis Report
MARATHON PETROL (MPC): Free Stock Analysis
OCCIDENTAL PET (OXY): Free Stock Analysis
STRYKER CORP (SYK): Free Stock Analysis
VARIAN MEDICAL (VAR): Free Stock Analysis
EXXON MOBIL CRP (XOM): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.